One might have expected Time Lapse to appear on Wil Bolton's Boltfish Recordings, given that he co-owns the label, but in this case Boltfish's loss is Hibernate's gain. Surprisingly, the album is also Bolton's debut album under his own name, even though the Liverpool, UK-based producer has issued numerous recordings under the Cheju alias. His stock-in-trade in that guise has been melodic electronica rooted in the IDM tradition and presented in an accessible synthetic style armed with broken beats and heavy on atmosphere. Time Lapse, not surprisingly, shows a slightly different side of Bolton's artistic persona, as it's more in line with Hibernate's penchant for ambient-drone soundscaping. Melodic elements are still present but they're largely woven into an overall fabric built from textured drones (produced using electric and classical guitars, chime bars, vintage keyboards, and assorted gear) and field recordings (among the locales that Bolton draws upon are a café in King's Lynn, a Berlin train station, a lake in North Wales, and Liverpool Cathedral). “Slate” serves as a good representation of the material's style in this regard, as bright keyboard patterns hint at melodies as they meander alongside a flow of natural sounds of birds and water. Similarly, the industrial sounds of an electrical substation are just as much emphasized as the ominous electronic tones that shudder throughout “Substation.” Put simply, the material's gleaming synthetic dimension gives it an appealing, old-school dimension that recalls the early ambient recordings of Eno and Harold Budd, while the inclusion of field recording details gives Bolton's meditative set-pieces a more contemporary feel.
Among the memorable pieces are: “Remnants,”which fuses analog (electric piano, synthesizers) and purely electronic elements into a concise dronescape; “Collapsed Chimes,” whose tinkling bell tones reverberate peacefully while the murmur of a cafe crowd appears in the background; the fleeting “Mureung” (its field recordings stemming from the Mureung Valley, South Korea), which sounds like a gamelan combo warming up and testing out the timbres of its instruments; and the long-form closer “Closures and Delays,” whose shimmering synthesizer streams extend across field recordings of what sounds like traffic noises during a rainstorm. Throughout the collection, Bolton strikes a deft balance between electronic and acoustic sound sources, just as he does with the melodic and field recordings aspects. It would be inaccurate to describe Time Lapse as representative of Bolton's more serious composer's side, as doing so would suggest the Cheju material is in some measure frivolous by comparison, and that's clearly not the case. His Cheju releases are as well-crafted as Time Lapse but simply focus on a different style that Bolton's as serious about and committed to. Think of Time Lapse, then, as a vehicle for allowing another artistic dimension of a multi-faceted creator to come into being.